Oregon Trail Repairs
4:37 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Boy Scouts Help Repair Plundered Historic Trail

Restoration work got underway this weekend on a two mile stretch of the Oregon Trail that cuts through southern Idaho. Officials with the Bureau of Land Management in Burley worked with local Boy Scouts to fill about 400 holes illegally dug by artifact hunters sometime this summer.

Officials with the Bureau of Land Management in Burley worked with local Boy Scouts to fill about 400 holes illegally dug by artifact hunters sometime this summer.
Credit Bureau of Land Management / Flickr

BLM archeologist Suzann Henrikson says tens of thousands made their way west along the trail in the mid 1800's. Outside Burley you can still see the ruts where the wagon wheels cut into the road. But Henrikson says much of the 2,000 mile trail has been lost over the last century to modern development.

"So these little intact segments, these little slices of our history, are disappearing rapidly. And so when you see something like this, it's just needless and horrific. You're disgusted" says Henrikson.

The BLM is seeking help from the public to catch the person or persons responsible for plundering the site. It's not known what was taken. But the removal of archeological artifacts from public lands can be a felony. First time offenders could face a year in prison and be fined as much as $20,000.

Copyright 2013 Oregon Public Broadcasting.